The San Francisco 49ers are a professional American football team based in San Francisco, California, playing in the West Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The team was founded in 1946 as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and joined the NFL in 1950 after the two leagues merged. The 49ers are known for having one of the NFL's greatest dynasties, winning five Super Bowl championships in only 14 years, between 1981 and 1994, with four of those championships coming in the 1980s. Those championship teams were led by hall of famers such as Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Steve Young, and coach Bill Walsh. They are currently tied with the Dallas Cowboys for the second-most Super Bowl wins with 5 (the Pittsburgh Steelers have 6); the 49ers remain the only team in NFL history to appear in more than one Super Bowl without ever losing.
The name "49ers" comes from the name given to the gold prospectors who arrived in Northern California around 1849 during the California Gold Rush. The name was suggested to reflect the voyagers who had rushed the West for gold. The team is legally and corporately registered as the San Francisco Forty Niners, Ltd., and is the oldest major professional sports team in California that still calls the state home. Major League Baseball did not arrive for a few more years when the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers moved to San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively. The Philadelphia Warriors and Minneapolis Lakers moved to California in the 1960s, and the Oakland Seals and Los Angeles Kings became the first NHL teams in the state in 1967. The Cleveland Rams arrived in Los Angeles in 1946. The 49ers and Los Angeles Rams were cross-state rivals until 1994, when the present St. Louis Rams left Southern California.
Entering the 2012 season the 49ers hold a regular season record of 522-423-15 with their playoff record standing at 27-19 which includes a 5-0 record in Super Bowl games, for an overall record of 549-442-15.
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